MSM - The Joint Health Aid & Anti-inflammatory
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another source of dietary sulfur, an important constituent of amino acids, proteins, and cartilage.
Sources of MSM in nature include:
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Whole grains
Food that has been heavily process contains decreased amounts of MSM. Since cartilage health is a predictor for joint health, for those lacking sulfur in their diets, supplementation of sulfur contributing compounds is a good means to protect cartilage. And by protecting cartilage, you can promote healthy joints and decrease the chance for joint related complications to occur later in life. This is crucial for athletes as their joints are under constant strain and stress.
MSM supplementation may also be effective for treating allergies, pain, athletic injuries, and bladder disorders. (R). †
1. MSM An Anti-inflammatory that Reduces Arthritis and Joint Pain
“MSM, as a micronutrient with enhanced penetrability properties, is commonly integrated with other anti-arthritic agents including glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and boswellic acid.” It produced an analgesic (pain reducing) and anti-inflammatory effect in osteoarthritis (R) and has been shown in clinical trials involving arthritis patients to be effective in reducing arthritic joint pain, as measured by the VAS pain scale (R). Compared to placebo, MSM significantly improved symptoms of osteoarthritis, demonstrating a significant decrease in the mean pain index from 1.53 +/- 0.51 to 0.74 +/- 0.65.†
Another trial that tested a higher dose of MSM (2g/day for 2 weeks followed by 6g for 10 weeks) confirmed MSM’s ability to reduce pain. Participants in this study, who suffered from knee osteoarthritis, ingested 3g of MSM per day and reported a 20% reduction in their symptoms and 21% less pain while the placebo resulted in a 9% increase of pain (R, R).†
2. Aids in Muscle Recovery
It is known that reduced dietary sulfur inhibits tissue repair so it is safe to assume that increasing sulfur intake can aid in the repair of rigid, fibrous, muscle tissue cells in muscles. (R).
Data suggests that 10-day supplementation has been able to decrease muscle damage by means of acting as an antioxidant (R). Some studies show that bilirubin is a potent antioxidant marker of muscle damage that seems increase after the oxidative stress caused by exercise. It is thought to prevent or counteract oxidative stress-mediated injury. However, when subjects ingested MSM, there was a decrease in bilirubin post-exercise, suggesting that it assumes a similar role in the body as bilirubin. Creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) are released in blood in normal muscle cell metabolism and their serum concentration very low, increasing considerably after intensive exercise. MSM possibly acts by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and consequently cell membrane leakage, resulting in a decrease of CK and LDH. 1 It is likely that MSM supplementation was able to alleviate oxidative stress and decrease the need for bilirubin as antioxidant. (R). †
3. Muscle Pain & Fatigue Reduction
In a study assessing different MSM supplementation’s effect on muscle soreness at different dosage levels with eight, moderately fit, healthy men (27.1 ± 6.9 yrs old), a trend was observed for a reduction in muscle soreness. “Participants in the 1.5 grams/day group experienced a 0.5 point greater reduction in muscle soreness during the post-intervention visit as compared to pre-intervention, and the 3.0 grams/day group experienced a 1.5 point greater reduction in soreness.” The 1.0 point difference in the baseline for muscle soreness suggests that that the higher the dosage, the more pronounced the muscle pain reduction. In the same study, MSM supplementation also fatigue also decreased. (R).†
If your sport of choice puts heavy strain on your joints and muscles, and you are thinking of adding a natural sulfur contributing compound to aid in your training & performance in competitions, Zenko: Boost offers 1.0 gram of MSM in one single serving. The blend complements MSM with other natural ingredients that have Nootropic and Antioxidant properties as well. Learn more about it here.
† This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
About the Author: Dennis Thompson is the President of Zenko Nutrition. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Biology and has more than 2 years of experience working in a cGMP Pharmaceutical testing laboratory.